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Did Spike really care for Dawn?

Cheese Slices

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It's not always about scenes, it can be about relationships between characters and how they grow and develop. Or how they change for the worse. Fans do it all the time, not just with this particular pairing.
Of course, but usually they base themselves on existing material.
They're speculation on 'what is seen' (or in this case what is absent from what we expect to see) and what we can interpret about the characters from the that.
Yeah, but for me the difference between what is seen and what is not seen is kind of fundamental. To put it plainly, we don't see a scene where Spike expresses a lack of care for Dawn after S5. However, we have scenes of Dawn asking if Spike wasn't going to be around anymore in Seeing Red, which suggests that he has been more or less "around" + Spike continuing to call her affectionate nicknames in the same episodes and at least twice in S7. So even with the notion that absence of evidence gives us free reign to imagine things however we want, we have more stuff in the "he still cares" camp than the "he only cared about her to get in Buffy's pants" camp.
If I said 'well, Spike and Dawn don't get along because 'Spike shouted at Dawn off-screen sometime after Flooded and that's why they never interact closely again'; that would be 'making things up' based on nothing much.
No but you're basing the idea that he never really cared about her based on a general lack of material -- which to me is too neutral, even without taking into account my examples above.
t's incredibly mild; Willow accidentally wiped all their memories with magic but its okay because she was only trying to wipe some people's memory with magic. Tara up and leaves and the others are 'having a conversation'?
It's tepid enough writing to warrant much fan speculation as to what's going on, for many a fan. Maybe Willow cast another spell...
The writing makes it pretty clear that Buffy and Xander are too wrapped up in their own stuff (Existential angst and wedding panic respectively), whereas Tara is Willow's girlfriend and is a much more direct victim of her actions, and Giles is more distant and has better capacity to notice this kind of thing (esp since he himself has had similar issues in his youth). Again, you may think it's not enough or not IC but it's accounted for.
But you just said that we can use previous seasons to look for reasons, like with what was foreshadowed with Giles, so why not with Dawn and Spike? He had scenes with her in S5 that were great and showed a different side to both of them and then their relationship kinda vanished until what? Season 9. That's notable.
See above, what little interaction we had post S5 showed that he cared; also, again, lack of evidence for one thing is not proof that the opposite is true. If we do as you say and base ourselves on their previous interactions, then the conclusion should go even more towards the idea that he still cares. Willow doesn't interact much with Dawn either, but nobody is asking whether she ever truly gave a damn about her.

Meh, I don't know if I'm making sense anymore.
TL;DR : there isn't much to base ourselves on to truly go one way or another, and what we do get seems to be more indicative of Spike really caring about Dawn, but being either too taken with Buffy (or pushed back into the shadows) in S6 or being too ashamed of what went down in SR in S7.
 

darkspook

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Of course, but usually they base themselves on existing material.

Yeah, but for me the difference between what is seen and what is not seen is kind of fundamental. To put it plainly, we don't see a scene where Spike expresses a lack of care for Dawn after S5. However, we have scenes of Dawn asking if Spike wasn't going to be around anymore in Seeing Red, which suggests that he has been more or less "around" + Spike continuing to call her affectionate nicknames in the same episodes and at least twice in S7. So even with the notion that absence of evidence gives us free reign to imagine things however we want, we have more stuff in the "he still cares" camp than the "he only cared about her to get in Buffy's pants" camp.

No but you're basing the idea that he never really cared about her based on a general lack of material -- which to me is too neutral, even without taking into account my examples above.

The writing makes it pretty clear that Buffy and Xander are too wrapped up in their own stuff (Existential angst and wedding panic respectively), whereas Tara is Willow's girlfriend and is a much more direct victim of her actions, and Giles is more distant and has better capacity to notice this kind of thing (esp since he himself has had similar issues in his youth). Again, you may think it's not enough or not IC but it's accounted for.

See above, what little interaction we had post S5 showed that he cared; also, again, lack of evidence for one thing is not proof that the opposite is true. If we do as you say and base ourselves on their previous interactions, then the conclusion should go even more towards the idea that he still cares. Willow doesn't interact much with Dawn either, but nobody is asking whether she ever truly gave a damn about her.

Meh, I don't know if I'm making sense anymore.
TL;DR : there isn't much to base ourselves on to truly go one way or another, and what we do get seems to be more indicative of Spike really caring about Dawn, but being either too taken with Buffy (or pushed back into the shadows) in S6 or being too ashamed of what went down in SR in S7.
Hmmm agree to disagree think my cheese friend. The relationship is downplayed to the point of pushed aside all in favour of the Buffy/Spike relationship. He actively pulled Buffy from her responsibilities including Dawn to have her all to himself. Things like preventing her from returning home and whispering in her ear that she doesn’t belong when she is around her friends. All relate to Dawn as Dawn is her life and part of her world. A world Spike wanted all to himself.
 

Cheese Slices

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Hmmm agree to disagree think my cheese friend. The relationship is downplayed to the point of pushed aside all in favour of the Buffy/Spike relationship. He actively pulled Buffy from her responsibilities including Dawn to have her all to himself. Things like preventing her from returning home and whispering in her ear that she doesn’t belong when she is around her friends. All relate to Dawn as Dawn is her life and part of her world. A world Spike wanted all to himself.
I don't think I've said the contrary ? I'm pretty sure I said something similar in my first post. I think it's true, but that it's more complicated than that. So agree to sort of disagree (yes, I can't even agree on that, that's how annoying I am :p )
 

Stake fodder

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we have scenes of Dawn asking if Spike wasn't going to be around anymore in Seeing Red, which suggests that he has been more or less "around"
I did think that was an odd statement, considering that, as far as we see, Spike already hadn't been around. So you could be right that we're supposed to intuit off-screen scenes. Like someone else pointed out, he lost his lighter in the couch, and we haven't seen him there for seven episodes. But it still seems a contradiction to me then that Buffy won't let him in the house because Dawn's there in "As You Were." Maybe that's just Buffy going hot and cold about their relationship, as she did a lot.

He actively pulled Buffy from her responsibilities including Dawn to have her all to himself.
And yet, I agree with this, too. I guess it's just that soulless Spike does care about Dawn, but in his usual selfish "me first" way. And in S7, since they're living in the same house, it does seem probable that they would have a lot of interactions that we just don't see.
 

katmobile

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I did think that was an odd statement, considering that, as far as we see, Spike already hadn't been around. So you could be right that we're supposed to intuit off-screen scenes. Like someone else pointed out, he lost his lighter in the couch, and we haven't seen him there for seven episodes. But it still seems a contradiction to me then that Buffy won't let him in the house because Dawn's there in "As You Were." Maybe that's just Buffy going hot and cold about their relationship, as she did a lot.


And yet, I agree with this, too. I guess it's just that soulless Spike does care about Dawn, but in his usual selfish "me first" way. And in S7, since they're living in the same house, it does seem probable that they would have a lot of interactions that we just don't see.
I think Spike has a lot on his plate on season seven and Dawn obviously doesn't like Spike or her sister hanging around him so they don't really interact. I'm not criticising Dawn for this - she says in Him she doesn't understand and she doesn't and I think stopping commenting on it shows she knows she doesn't but she needs time to decide what she feels about it and work through that. I think with the potentials Dawn realises she can't rely on anyone else to pay her attention because that's the nature of her sister and her friends' lives and these guys have their own demons to wrestle with. She has to do what she can do to help on her own in her own way.

I don't know how darkspook doesn't think Spike doesn't care about Dawn in the comics when he comes back to help her in them and is very annoyed with a sacrifice Dawn makes in season ten...including with Buffy and he actually offers to support her in making it and it's only metaphorical reasons why he doesn't.
 
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darkspook

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I think Spike has a lot on his plate on season seven and Dawn obviously doesn't like Spike or her sister hanging around him so they don't really interact. I'm not criticising Dawn for this - she says in Him she doesn't understand and she doesn't and I think stopping commenting on it shows she knows she doesn't but she needs time to decide what she feels about it and work through that. I think with the potentials Dawn realises she can't rely on anyone else to pay her attention because that's the nature of her sister and her friends' lives and these guys have their own demons to wrestle with. She has to do what she can do to help on her own in her own way.

I don't know how darkspook doesn't think Spike doesn't care about Dawn in the comics when he comes back to help her in them and is very annoyed with a sacrifice Dawn makes in season ten...including with Buffy and he actually offers to support her in making it and it's only metaphorical reasons why he doesn't.
Each to their own my friend. I tend to think Spike only sees interaction with the Scoobies and any friendship with them as a means to an end ala Buffy. Once he gets what wanted his interaction with them drops to nil.
 
K
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Again I'll repeat each to their own and state that's your opinion and I don't agree and leave at that in order to not go around in circles.

Priceless

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I always come back to why did he hang around when Buffy was dead? What was he getting from the scoobies that he couldn't have found somewhere else? He obviously cared for Dawn, he showed that over and over. Of course there is self interest there, but the same could be said for all the scoobies, as none of them would stay if they weren't getting something out of their relationships. To expect total altruism from a soulless vampire is expecting too much, especially if you don't expect it from the soul having humans. On balance I would say Spike cared for Dawn as much as any of the scoobies cared for Dawn, and probably more than some.
 

darkspook

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I always come back to why did he hang around when Buffy was dead? What was he getting from the scoobies that he couldn't have found somewhere else? He obviously cared for Dawn, he showed that over and over. Of course there is self interest there, but the same could be said for all the scoobies, as none of them would stay if they weren't getting something out of their relationships. To expect total altruism from a soulless vampire is expecting too much, especially if you don't expect it from the soul having humans. On balance I would say Spike cared for Dawn as much as any of the scoobies cared for Dawn, and probably more than some.
Which is why it is so frustrating or at poor writing that they barely interacted after S6 opener. It was like ‘I really care for you oh wait your sister is back! Woo hoo! See ya!’
 

Cheese Slices

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think Spike has a lot on his plate on season seven and Dawn obviously doesn't like Spike or her sister hanging around him so they don't really interact. I'm not criticising Dawn for this - she says in Him she doesn't understand and she doesn't and I think stopping commenting on it shows she knows she doesn't but she needs time to decide what she feels about it and work through that. I think with the potentials Dawn realises she can't rely on anyone else to pay her attention because that's the nature of her sister and her friends' lives and these guys have their own demons to wrestle with. She has to do what she can do to help on her own in her own way.
I think this is the crux of it. I think Dawn has been burned by her idealism and is keeping her distance, but she still cares about him (for ex she offers to go check on him after he gets his ass kicked in Get It Done). And I suspect the same is true for Spike (he also expresses concern for Dawn in LMPTM). I think at this point so much went down and they are still reeling from everything, but eventually they would've become friendly again.
Which is why it is so frustrating or at poor writing that they barely interacted after S6 opener. It was like ‘I really care for you oh wait your sister is back! Woo hoo! See ya!’
That's a bit of hyperbole, imo. As @Stake fodder and I said earlier, there are quotes here and there that indicate that 1) he has been around in some capacity and 2) Buffy is trying to avoid "normalizing" him for a number of reasons which I won't get into because I'll end writing an essay but basically because she feels their relationship == bad and doesn't want to "corrupt" Dawn.
Also one of my favorite "small moment" between them is in Wrecked when Buffy and Spike find Dawn and Willow being attacked by the demon thingy, and Spike immediately goes to take care of Dawn while Buffy fights the demon. I don't know, I feel it means something.
 

Priceless

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Which is why it is so frustrating or at poor writing that they barely interacted after S6 opener. It was like ‘I really care for you oh wait your sister is back! Woo hoo! See ya!’
But no one centres Dawn in Season 6. Why do you expect Spike to do what none of the scoobies are doing? Why doesn't Willow spend more time with Dawn, go shopping with her etc.? Only Tara does that. Dawn was friends with them all in Season 5, but that 'friendship' evaporates for them all the following season, when they all become wrapped up in their own problems.
 
TriBel
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"But no one centres Dawn in Season 6". Yay...I love you...in a purely platonic sense. 😄

Stake fodder

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Also one of my favorite "small moment" between them is in Wrecked when Buffy and Spike find Dawn and Willow being attacked by the demon thingy, and Spike immediately goes to take care of Dawn while Buffy fights the demon. I don't know, I feel it means something.
I had forgotten about that moment, but I agree that it means something. Spike doesn't even fight the demon or say anything to Willow, as I recall, his focus is all on Dawn. Now that you say it, it does seem very significant, if subtle.

But no one centres Dawn in Season 6. Why do you expect Spike to do what none of the scoobies are doing? Why doesn't Willow spend more time with Dawn, go shopping with her etc.? Only Tara does that. Dawn was friends with them all in Season 5, but that 'friendship' evaporates for them all the following season, when they all become wrapped up in their own problems.
While we have to guess if Spike and Dawn have off-screen scenes, we can expect that Willow and Tara actually do spend a lot of time with Dawn, as they're living in the house. Of course, Dawn herself feels ignored by everyone, but her anger seems to be more with the women, and not with Spike. I don't think she even speaks to him at Buffy's birthday party. So that's something that makes it seem like the writers are dropping their connection.

And I guess we expect Spike to do what none of the Scoobies are doing, because Spike's relationships with everyone else are so fascinating to us! :D

I don't know how darkspook doesn't think Spike doesn't care about Dawn in the comics when he comes back to help her in them
Yeah, I've been reading the S9 comics, and there are some touching, genuinely caring scenes between Spike and Dawn. But I know (and I tend to agree) that a lot of people don't think the comics really 'count'. Still, it was nice to see.
 

Dora

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I always come back to why did he hang around when Buffy was dead? What was he getting from the scoobies that he couldn't have found somewhere else? He obviously cared for Dawn, he showed that over and over. Of course there is self interest there, but the same could be said for all the scoobies, as none of them would stay if they weren't getting something out of their relationships. To expect total altruism from a soulless vampire is expecting too much, especially if you don't expect it from the soul having humans. On balance I would say Spike cared for Dawn as much as any of the scoobies cared for Dawn, and probably more than some.
I think Spike hanged around the scoobies because what else could he do ? he had been fighting demon' and vampires with the scoobies and as far as the demons were aware the slayer was still alive ( Buffy Bot ) without the scoobies and Buffy protection , Spike would have probably been killed
Spike was obsessed with slayers ,he tried to kill Buffy several times he had returned to kill buffy when the imitative captured him ,
I do not believe Spike really cared about Dawn , he's obsession with Buffy , Dawn was the only part of Buffy's death, he had left and such a pathetic fight he gave the Doc on the Tower he blamed himself for failing Buffy and her sacrificing herself to save the world
A lot of the time Buffy should have spent with Dawn she was spending with him , the whole come into the darkness is what he wanted , he never cared how much time Buffy spent away from Dawn , not once did he say do things like you stay with dawn tonight I will patrol in fact he seemed to stop patrolling with Buffy , it seems only meeting her to persuade her to have sex
I think the only one Spike loved was Dru , Obsessed with Slayers ( The only thing better than killing a slayer is to F ) its just that Buffy was the slayer had any other female say Willow had been the Slayer I am sure Spike's attention would have gone there
No Spike did not really care for Dawn it was about the same as he cared for Joyce , he liked and respected Joyce , but tried to kill then rape her daughter
 

Priceless

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I think Spike hanged around the scoobies because what else could he do ? he had been fighting demon' and vampires with the scoobies and as far as the demons were aware the slayer was still alive ( Buffy Bot ) without the scoobies and Buffy protection , Spike would have probably been killed
He could had found Dru or gone to Angel. He could still fight demons, so could have found himself some minions and moved on. He could have done a million things. He stayed because he loved Buffy and he'd made a promise he didn't want to break, which shows how much he loved her, because she wasn't here to see if he'd kept that promise.
he blamed himself for failing Buffy and her sacrificing herself to save the world
Why would this evil nasty obsessed vampire you believe Spike to be, give a damn? Why would an evil thing feel any sense of shame or blame himself? I think he did blame himself, because he did love Buffy, otherwise, once the person he supposedly was obsessed with had died, he would have just moved on and found another obsession.
 

thetopher

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Yeah, but for me the difference between what is seen and what is not seen is kind of fundamental. To put it plainly, we don't see a scene where Spike expresses a lack of care for Dawn after S5. However, we have scenes of Dawn asking if Spike wasn't going to be around anymore in Seeing Red, which suggests that he has been more or less "around" + Spike continuing to call her affectionate nicknames in the same episodes and at least twice in S7.
It's still worth noting as to when and why a relationship shifts, and the show writers have plenty of leeway to depict things however they want. They could've done anything, written any dialogue by Dawn or Spike to explain away a lack of shared screentime but they did not, for whatever reason, but they also knew that the (well-established) fan-base would speculate wildly.
That lack is suggestive and can infer many things, as it does for Spike's whole S6 shift in general.

No but you're basing the idea that he never really cared about her based on a general lack of material
I never said that he never cared about her, for a soulless demon to care about anyone human to any degree is mostly remarkable and goes to show how socialized (not 'good') Spike has become.
I just said that when he enters into his relationship with Buffy Spike's focus shifts entirely, and that's not just in regards to Dawn. He no longer strives to 'prove' anything to Buffy- like how he can be good- because he now has what he wants.

This would have a knock on effect on how he treats other characters, including Dawn.

being too ashamed of what went down in SR in S7.
See, there's no real evidence of this, at least in his interactions with anyone except Buffy. But there are people is this thread who says that that this makes total sense based on their read of Spike's character.

At the end of the day, its how you view the character that influences the progression of a relationship. I see Spike in S5 and 6 as fundamentally limited in his capacity to be human, to empathize because of his evil nature, which affects his interactions with people. Others can have a different view.
 

thetopher

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He could had found Dru or gone to Angel.
He already betrayed Dru (yet again) and hates Angel. Besides either one would probably stake him. Why would Spike risk it? He's a survivor at heart and he already has a safe haven where he is useful, most likely provided with blood and money for inflicting harm of demons.

He could still fight demons, so could have found himself some minions and moved on.
Demons are fickle, especially vampires who wouldn't really respect a 'top' vamp who couldn't even kill his own food. Remember how those weak vamps turned on their weak leader-Harmony- and she was their sire.
Spike's rep has already taken a knock and he couldn't be sure what would happen if he left the safety of the Scoobies.

He stayed because he loved Buffy and he'd made a promise he didn't want to break, which shows how much he loved her
Vampires can feel guilt, to a degree, regarding people they care about.
Also it should be pointed out that Spike's romantic view of himself compels him to do all sorts of things. Somebody can do something for many reasons at once.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Demons are fickle, especially vampires who wouldn't really respect a 'top' vamp who couldn't even kill his own food. Remember how those weak vamps turned on their weak leader-Harmony- and she was their sire.
Spike's rep has already taken a knock and he couldn't be sure what would happen if he left the safety of the Scoobies.
Agreed. I think vampires have a hierarchy where whatever the leader says go hence why that vampire immolated herself to give Buffy a message on Angelus' orders. It explains why Spike was still alive after killing the annoying one, he became the new alpha, it also explains why Angelus was just able to stroll in and take over Spike's group since Spike was unable to defend his position due to his injuries. In many ways, Dru could be seen to undermine Angelus' leadership as she continues to sleep with Spike. She's a status system (Angelus taking the previous leader's girl) but Angelus does not have exclusive access to her. Spike had exclusive access when he was leader (because of their relationship but also because none of the lower ranking vampires would ever dare to try and make a move on Dru). Spike, now a lower ranking vampire than Angelus, still has access to Dru and goes unchallenged on this. I think Dru holds a lot more power than she's credited with. She's the one who chooses to sleep with Spike, even with Angelus on the scene, yet he's not challenging her over it. Even in BB&B, Angelus backs off rather than fight Dru over Xander.

In some ways, it seems Angelus' position as leader is reliant on Dru being compliable. If he tries to get rid of Spike, he runs the risk of turning Dru against him and since the lower ranking vampires are still technically following their leaders (Spike and Dru) who are following Angelus, if Dru turns then the whole group may turn which leaves him vastly outnumbered.
 

thetopher

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It explains why Spike was still alive after killing the annoying one, he became the new alpha, it also explains why Angelus was just able to stroll in and take over Spike's group since Spike was unable to defend his position due to his injuries.
Yes, the vampire pecking order is all about showing dominance. Hard to show dominance when you can't feed yourself because it leaves you beholden to other creatures, evil ones at that. Spike in a wheelchair is weakened, but at least he had a full strength Dru looking after and protecting him, he wouldn't have that with a new group.

In some ways, it seems Angelus' position as leader is reliant on Dru being compliable.
The whirlwind dynamic always seemed very fluid; Angelus was the leader but Darla could get him to do what she wanted most of the time. Spike was deadly and a strong enough personality to be vying for leadership after a time, Drusilla loved her William and also loved her Daddy. Darla and Dru enjoyed it when Spike and Angelus butted heads, etc.
Kinda makes me wish we'd seen more of that dynamic in 1880-1899, but we only get some snippets.
 

thetopher

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I think the writers missed an opportunity here; to distinguish souled Spike from his demonic counterpart. In S7 he could've cared about much more than just Buffy, to try and repair what he been damaged between himself and Dawn.
As it is if things are left blank fans are going to be left to fill in the blanks.

I think why many like Spike over on Angel is that, he really does try to form new bonds and relationships; he doesn't just spar with Angel but he has great scenes with Fred, Wesley and Gunn. Character interactions give plenty for the audience to chew on- because for most of them the characters are why they invest in any of it.
 
T
thrasherpix
Yes, I can finally see the soul in Spike in Angel season 5, and also like that he becomes more of his own person than Buffy's lapdog.
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